A couple years ago I spent Christmas in Madrid, Spanish-less, but heavy in enthusiasm and a will to experience the best that the city has to offer. Obviously with it being Christmas time, everyone is in good spirits and the city comes alive as people ready themselves for the festive times ahead.
Here are my top 5 tips for getting the best out of your experience in Madrid at Christmas time:
Seek out the Christmas lights:
Like most large cities in the world, Madrid is awash with stunning Christmas lights during December, whether you are in downtown or strolling around the city centre, you will be too far away from a bright display of Santa’s finest. Head to Plaza Cibeles for a spectacular display.
Stay in the centre:
I love the centre of Madrid, it’s definitely the most happening part of the city – a superb backdrop and easy access via the trains to almost any part of the city you want to visit. To truly get into the Christmas spirit, it may be worth booking an apartment near to the Christmas market so you don’t have to walk far with all your recently bought presents.
Head to the markets:
The above mentioned Christmas markets are not to be missed! Almost a tradition in Madrid come Christmas time, Plaza Mayor is home to one of the largest and longest living markets in the country. During the festive season don’t be surprised to find absolutely everything on offer, from ornaments, food, lights, costumes, jewellery – the list is endless and very much a must see for anyone in the city during this time.
Enjoy the food:
Make no mistake about it, in December Madrid can get quite cold! No better way to fight off the Spanish wind by indulging in a home made Churro and hot chocolate. If you head to Plaza Castilla you will find a small stand for Churros that will regularly have long lines, but don’t worry, lines move quick and it will be more than worth the wait.
Go ice skating!
For those of you that can, I salute you, for those of you that can’t – welcome to the club. In December there are plenty of ice skating rinks that pop up around the city as lakes freeze and temporary ice ranks make for the perfect spot to practice those jumps and more likely, those falls. Head to Plaza Callao where you will find my favourite spot for ice skating – but be warned, they can get busy.
Get lost on the train, well, hopefully not lost, but Madrid has a great public transport system and make sure you take advantage of that whilst in the city, taxis can be expensive and trains offer easy and cheap transport around the city and are generally not so busy during afternoon times when you’re out being a tourist.
So that’s my list of top 5 things to do and see in Madrid at Christmas time, have you been to Madrid? What is on your list of best things to see in the city at this time? Feel free to let us know or re-write your list – such a fascinating city is Madrid, it is almost impossible to sum up in just 5 points exactly how special this city is come December.